I really enjoyed taking dumb pictures and integrating them into an inane blog last week with my entry detailing our luxuriant Troy getaway, and I also like the idea of doing a recurring feature, so here it is: Thursday Night Squalor, henceforth to be casually and coolly referred to as TNS, as in “Check it, bra: Did y’all peep dis week’s TNS? Didja? Bra? Bra! I DEMAND THAT YOU ANSWER ME, BRA! I DEMAND THAT YOU ANSWER ME! THIS IS FLAGRANT RECALCITRANCE, BRA! FLAGRANT RECALCITRANCE!”

TNS, bra, will go like this: I will take pictures of various areas of our generally unkempt living space every Thursday night, and we will all get to see if and how the various surfaces change every week. This being our first “episode”, there will be likely be some working out of kinks, defragmentation of bugs, smoothing out of trousers, and kicking out of jams. All things to be expected from a weekly report on ones disgusting apartment.

To keep it simple, I’m relegating things to the following areas of the house, as they are basic, relatively easy to photograph, and usually covered with shit.


KITCHEN TABLE: This is the first thing one encounters when you enter the apartment, and as such it’s where we put whatever objects we happen to have in our hand that originated from the outside world and now must become part of our day-to-day lives before either being discarded, donated to Goodwill, or simply disintegrated of their own accord.

SINK: This is a big metal thing that dispenses water and occasionally makes disruptive glumphing sounds. We tend to store food-encrusted dishes in it.

COUNTERTOP: Where potato-based snacks and wallets go.

COFFEE TABLE: Another hard, rectangular surface on which to thoughtlessly place things, occasionally but not necessarily related to coffee.

END TABLE: A rickety little thing my mom gave us that we keep forgetting to heave into a dumpster. Located in bedroom. Annie seems to have monopolized it.

BED AREA: Although we should someday buy them, we do not currently own bedside tables, and as such tend to throw things on the floor on either side of the bed. Things like magazines, paperbacks, yellowed bandages, and pizza crusts.

I think that’s all of them. Ready? Here we go! Isn’t this exciting? Answer: Yes.


So I’m not sure how best to shoot the kitchen table. It’s hard to come away with an all-encompassing view of the sprawl.

Cheery lighting in the kitchen area, no? I guess this is a decent enough view. The kitchen table doesn’t look half bad tonight. Recently I was struck with the brilliant notion of placing a seldom used wicker coaster underneath our fake flowers centerpiece, and both Annie and myself were unreasonably taken aback at the improvement. While you can’t polish a turd, you can at the very least find a coaster for it. That “fresh” magazine is something I got free at Hannaford this evening. I didn’t really want it but for some reason I felt bad declining. I don’t know what’s in the bowl on the front cover but it looks like meatloaf floating in Hershey’s syrup. I was just trying to be gross there but after further thought that doesn’t really sound all that bad.

Note the difference from the opposite angle. It’s like a whole other table or something! Christ on a cross, this really is interesting! Here we see a big old plastic bag from the University of Maine at Orono, where my wife currently gets astounding grades. There’s our cow pepper shaker’s ass for you to look at. That Netflix is the final disc of the first season of “Picket Fences”, as yet unwatched, but if you’re as big of a Fyvush Finkel fan as I am, you know it won’t remain unwatched for long!

Fyvush Finkel fan. Fyvush Finkel fan. Fyvush Finkel fan.

Neath that Netflix is a library book about Yiddish that Annie took out on my card, where it is currently racking up overdue fines. Oy gevalt! To waste money in this way, it is a shame, nu? Bagels!

I’ve given up hope that Annie is ever going to put this Border’s reward card into her wallet. It used to be on the countertop for awhile. Somehow it’s migrated to the kitchen table, which at the moment is closer to her purse, so it’s an encouraging development. I don’t know what was in that big envelope to the left, nor why we might not have discarded said envelope, having deprived it of its contents. Finally, a noble notebook forsakes its intended purpose in favor of moonlighting as a rudimentary scarf shelf. Sad and brave; a fitting coda.


Here is our sink this night:

Not bad, as it goes. About a week ago, this area of the house really looked very awful indeed. Flatware had not been cleansed in some time. There was mold. There were smells. But I’ve been attacking the filth here and there, so it’s at least somewhat under control at the moment, although most of that crap to the right of the sink has been dirty for about 2 weeks now. I tend to put off washing colanders, for whatever reason. Get used to those green sectiony-plates. We eat off those ALL the time. They’ve been in my family since I was in short pants. I don’t like my food touching.

There’s the sink from another angle, so you can see that some things have been washed. I have to say I’m rather proud of the way I neatly stacked those autumnally-hued tumblers on the dish rack. On the other hand, that ladle is crudlicious, and it’s right in your face in this shot. Wah.


There’s always something goin’ on here at the ol’ countertop! Lookah here! Lookah! Lookah!

Our countertop has never seemed so somber. Might be time to up the wattage next time we go to market for light bulbs. Let’s take a closer look!

See those hair ties and credit cards on the left? That stuff has been there since before Halloween. I don’t know what the deal is with them. That “My So-Called Show” (but of course I mean “Life”, a hyuk yuk yuk) is a present for Annie’s sister (Lorrie) from Annie that has yet to be mailed, as Lorrie has yet to provide us with her new address. We’ll give her another week, and then I’ll pay Annie fifty bucks for the privilege of drop-kicking it into the forest. On top of MSCL is a sealed envelope containing something evidently not terribly urgent for the University of Maine that has also been hanging out on the countertop for a good long while. I don’t know what to think about that floral canister, but it’s interesting that it has a handle. It’s full of hard candy that we don’t like very much. I wouldn’t get attached to it, honestly.

Being that I am what the French might call a “fat sack of shit”, I’ve decided to try out some ostensibly healthier bread: Country Kitchen Light. I know that I should ideally be eating wheat or rye or some other poop bread if health is what I’m after, but I’m totally racist when it comes to bread. Wheat bread just seems so angry! It’s like I can sense that it already knows I’m not going to think it tastes good! Makes me nervous! White bread for me, thanks! There’s my camouflage wallet. You know, of all the things one could own in camouflage, a wallet…I don’t know, it seems unwise, doesn’t it? We got that toaster oven as a wedding present, and I remain flummoxed by it. That white thing is my nametag for work, which unencouragingly still reads “Visitor”.

Two different brands of tortilla chips casually engage in intercourse while my checks and the pen cup look on in consternation. I’m tellin’ ya, our countertop is the place to be on Thursday night! It’s practically Studio 54 up in here!

Finally, we have granola bars, vitamins, Tim Horton’s hot chocolate, and a crystal chalice containing a disposable camera, gum, M&Ms, and Jolly Ranchers. Onward!


I got fancy and stood on a chair to get a nice aerial shot of the coffee table. Let’s see how it worked.

Not bad, not bad. Wiimotes aplenty! I’d like to draw everyone’s attention, if it’s not there already, to the giant Arnold Palmer beverage sticker adorning the center of our coffee table. I don’t remember where that came from, but it’s been there a long time, and I don’t think I could possibly exaggerate our affection for it. It’s probably the nicest decoration we have. That tape measure looks funny on his nose. Note red sectiony-plate.

Well, that’s a nice artful shot of some stuff. That JD “Downhome Punch” was fairly inoffensive, and very cheap, courtesy of Tim’s Little Big Store, just down the street from us, where they routinely sell recently spoiled malt beverages for a pittance. There’s “Mommy Knows Best”, one of two very amusing books we have by James Lileks. Checking out the booze is a ceramic hen, our salt shaker. I suppose she ought to have a name. How about “Virginia Madsen”? That seems good.

Speaking of amusing books, here’s some light reading from one of Annie’s classes. Sure makes those Care Bears and Spongebob stickers seem incongruous, to say nothing of golf legend Arnold Palmer and his refreshing hybridrink. If you’re reading this, Arnold, I’ve copyrighted “hybridrink” and if you want it you need to give me some money right now. And by “right now” I mean “three years ago”. I don’t have time to fuck around, old man. Time is money. This ain’t Pebble Beach, my friend. Time to put the clubs in the basement.


I only got one picture of the end table, and this is it:

That is a weird, unattractive picture. That coffee cup is on a seriously exclusive dimensional plane. Candy canes, random documents, a binder. I’m turning on both bedroom lamps next time. This is inexcusable. An unpromising debut, to say the least. It’s like the first episode of the American “Office”, where they just copied jokes from the British one. It’s exactly like that, and I apologize for it.

I don’t think I imported this image correctly. We’ll chalk this one up to inexperience and press on.


Here’s Annie’s side:

That’s my Matt Groening book. I don’t know why it’s on her side. And those are my socks! She’s taking all my stuff! It’s like I have nothing! Are my balls down there or what? Crimony! That other book is some junk about families for school, and looks like there’s an empty bottle of what once was iced tea. I picked up and stared right at that document on the left, and I still have no idea what it is. To the left, just a few of the many resplendent electronics wires fashionably adorning our home. There are approximately three electrical outlets in the entire apartment. I wish I were exaggerating. It makes things hard at times.

And finally, here’s my side of the bed:

Hey, pretty good lighting on my side of the bed! If only there were something worthy of illumination. We got a Gap bag that’s been kicking around for awhile, a wadded-up AC/DC shirt that will probably end up at Goodwill at some point due to not being at all comfortable, “The Abstinence Teacher” by Tom Perrotta, my Nintendo DS (handy for when I need to take care of my Nintendogs, Michael Landon and PooPoo), a couple of Entertainment Weeklys, and an empty Mountain Dew Live Wire bottle with an empty Reese Pieces box wedged onto it. And wires. Always, always wires.

Well, that’s TNS for Thursday, January seventeenth, two-thousand eight. I’m Jeremy Stover. Stay squalid, Old Town!


13 Responses to “THURSDAY NIGHT SQUALOR: 01.17.08 (DEBUT)”

  1. I can’t remember all the things I noticed. We’ll see how well I can wing it:

    The envelope on the counter was urgent the week between Christmas and the New Year…it was telling the University I didn’t owe them $200. That situation has rectified itself. Chuckable!

    The envelope on the table is proof that I joined NAEYC, which I can’t remember exactly what it means because it’s late late late. The Borders Reward card, you might note, is missing one of the key chain attachment cards. So it’s kind of being used. So many things that won’t be in next week’s installment! Thank God!

    And those are not your socks. They are brown. And I, too, am at a loss where that document is concerned.

    This entry, despite being interesting and entertaining, makes me want to hide under a rock. One bonus: I’ve never been more inspired to clean than I am right now.

  2. You can’t clean! It’ll ruin it! I can’t make hilarious quips about uncluttered surfaces! Please, sacrifice health and comfort for comedy!

  3. You have a natural affinity for Yiddish structure and many interesting things on flat surfaces.

  4. TNS is da bomb, bra!

    Seriously, I love to see other people’s living spaces, and how they use and live in them. It truly is fascinating to me. So don’t worry Fannie, I won’t judge you – much. =)

  5. Thanks, bras.

  6. Jeremy, how offended would you be if we stole it? I think every blog I read should add it as a regular feature!

  7. I’m no recalcitrant bra, so I will respond.

    TNS is a good idea. The best I can come up with for my blog is Joe Besser Week. Which will be awesome, because, come on, Joe Besser. But still, it is no TNS. Bra.

    Also, the section plate industry people really need to pay you to be some sort of spokesperson for them. It is your continued support that allows them to thrive.

    And the Arnold Palmer hybridrink may just be the best tasting substance on Earth, so I’m glad to see it get some love via your coffee table.

  8. Tori: Stealing is wrong. But if you feel you must pilfer, just make sure it’s not as funny as mine. As I understand it, it will most likely consist of several pictures of cat ass blood. (Sorry, Frank).

    Bill: I would be overjoyed to appear in testamonials for section plates. I can’t think of a product that has helped me more in life. I don’t know about “continued support”, though: the plates I have were probably purchased during the early years of the Reagan administration, and certainly not with my money. Also, yes, Arnold Palmer is a brilliant scientist of drinks. He looks rather irritated on the can, though. The drink can, not the toilet. I don’t know what he looks like on the toilet.

  9. Well, your continued moral support, if not financial.

  10. I want to post a picture of 80 year old carpet around my toilet. It makes your apartment look like the Taj Mahal. I won’t do that, I guess because I think I will cry when I see it.

    I can’t wait to arrive in squalid Old Town tomorrow on no sleep.

  11. Wasn’t “recalcitrant” one of Charlie Brown’s spelling bee words in that one special?

  12. Quite possibly. I only know of it because in youth whenever my brother and I were mildly misbehaving, my dad used to yell “RECALCITRANCE!” at us. He just did it to be funny, but apparently one of his professors in college angrily bellowed it once when the class wouldn’t quiet down. It understandably stayed with him. He still yells it at the cats every now and then.

  13. these pictures oddly comfort me.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: